After flirting with retirement for years, Brett Favre means it this time. The Green Bay Packers quarterback quit Tuesday after a 17-season career in which he dazzled fans with his grit, heart and rocket of an arm.
"I know I can still play, but it's like I told my wife, I'm just tired mentally. I'm just tired," Favre, a three-time NFL MVP, said. If I felt like coming back -- and Deanna [his wife] and I talked about this -- the only way for me to be successful would be to win a Super Bowl. To go to the Super Bowl and lose, would almost be worse than anything else. Anything less than a Super Bowl win would be unsuccessful. I know it shouldn't feel unsuccessful, but the only way to come back and make that be the right decision would be to come back and win a Super Bowl. And honestly, the odds of that, they're tough. Those are big shoes for me to fill, and I guess it was a challenge I wasn't up for."
Favre, 38, had made his annual flirtation with retirement a winter tradition in Wisconsin. He has taken weeks and even months to make his decision after recent seasons, with Cheeseheads hanging on his every word.
But unlike the final game of the 2006 season -- when Favre provided a cliffhanger by getting choked up in a television interview as he walked off the field in Chicago, only to return once again -- nearly everyone assumed he would be back.
A sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer, Favre put the Packers back among the NFL's elite. He retires with 5,377 career completions in 8,758 attempts for 61,655 yards, 442 touchdowns and 288 interceptions, passing Dan Marino's touchdown mark last season.